Abraham scores twice on Chelsea return to down Hammers

Tammy Abraham scored twice on his return to the Chelsea starting line up as Chelsea bagged all three points in a London derby that stops Frank Lampards “Blues Blip” becoming a full-blown crisis.

Abraham’s brace was the icing on the cake in a match which saw Chelsea withstand some continuous West Ham pressure after Thiago Silva had put them ahead in the 10 minutes.

Thiago was the star at both ends of the pitch with a strong performance seeing off the ariel threat of West Hams big men as the Hammers gained confidence after conceding the early goal.

West Ham had a few promising moments but lacked a little quality and failed to create any real clear-cut chances throughout the game.

Frank Lampard started the game without Reece James, out with an injury and he was soon joined by Ben Chillwell early on who went off with an ankle problem but it was another defender in Silva who got the early plaudits after pulling away from the attentions of Aaron Cresswell and heading home from near the penalty spot to the left of Lucas Fabianski.

West Ham tried to find a reply but David Moyes decision to reinstall Mark Nobel to the starting line up creating a defensive looking midfield 3 of Tomas Soucek, Declan Rice and the club captain left Sebastian Haller isolated alone upfront.

The visitors did have their moments with Jared Bowen denied a goal on the half-hour mark and a Silva block on a Soucek shot seemingly preventing a goal a few minutes later and Chelsea held their lead into the break.

West Ham remained on the front foot in the second half, but Edouard Mendy had yet to be tested by the hour mark with the returning Cesar Azpilicueta producing a superb block to deny Pablo Fornals.

With the game fizzling out it wasn’t until the 78th minute that Chelsea wrapped things up: Timo Werner cut inside and tried his luck with a poor shot but Tammy Abraham found himself in the right place at the right time to tap home for 2-0.

Two minutes later it was 3-0 when Pulisic led the Chelsea attack and while he was denied from Mount’s cross by Fabianski, who claimed he was fouled in the build-up. Abraham was there again to tap home and take his tally for the night to two.

After a five-game drought, the 23-year-old was back on the scoresheet and rewarded the decision by Lampard to bring him back in the team for his first league start of the month.

Chelsea are now up to 5th in the Premier League ahead of their boxing day clash at Arsenal whilst West Ham have now lost two on the bounce and host Brighton next time out.

Unflappable Danny Ings downs Seagulls in Southampton Win.

Southampton extended their unbeaten run against their south-coast rivals to eight games after a 2-1 victory at the Amex Stadium.

2000 Seagulls fans were welcomed back to the ground following a nine-month absence and would have been delighted to see their team take the lead with a Pascal Gross penalty that sent Alex McCarthy the wrong way after James Ward Prowse handled the ball in the area.

It was just reward for a first 25mins that saw Brighton on the front foot, calling the Southampton keeper off his line to gather on two previous occasions.

Brighton continued to press after the goal with Southampton struggling to find any real rhythm in their game and it was against the run of play that the Saints found their breakthrough with James Ward-Prowse continuing his impressive record from set-pieces with a pinpoint corner that found the head of Jan Vestergaard.

Brighton started the second half equally brightly with Tariq Tamptey looking threatening down the right but it was Southampton who would have the final say on proceedings.

Kyle Walker-Peters was bought down by Solly March on the edge of the area on 79 minutes with the referee initially awarding a free-kick. A lengthy VAR review duly followed with David Coote finally awarding the penalty which substitute Danny Ings dispatched to notch his 7th of the season.

Southampton in the European places and Brighton left wondering what might have been.

West Ham ride luck in 2-1 win vs Aston Villa

The Hammers have made their best start to a season since they moved to the London Stadium four years ago but won’t have many fond memories from this lacklustre display other than the three points they take from the match.

A missed penalty from Ollie Watkins and a disallowed goal courtesy of VAR could easily have swung the result the other way but as it stands two goals, early in each half, was enough to seal the win for David Moyes.

West Ham started well with a goal inside the first two minutes of the game when Ogbonna headed home from a Jared Bowen corner after Tomas Soucek’s early shot was deflected wide.

Villa slowly grew into the game with Ezri Konsa heading over and Conor Hourihane tested Lucas Fabianski with a tasty free-kick before Jack Grealish levelled things up on 25mins with a deflected shot from 20 yards.

With West Ham offering little in the half outside of the goal, David Moyes rang the changes at half time hooking the returning Michael Antonio and Arthur Masuaku in favour of Sebastian Haller and Said Benrahma – the latter of which set up what turned out to be the winning goal within 30 seconds of the restart – swinging in a pinpoint cross with his right foot that was met by the head of Jared Bowen to net.

Aston Villa responded with Ollie Watkins laying a guilt edge opportunity on a plate for Trezeguet who somehow found Lucas Fabianski’s outstretched arm when it would have been easier to score.
Watkins then had the opportunity to score himself after Declan Rice was adjudged to have fouled Trezeguet in the box for the slightest pull on the Egyptians shirt but instead, Watkins missed the resuting penalty kick, striking the crossbar high to the keepers right.

The summer signing from Brentford thought he had rescued a point for the Midlands outfit in stoppage time as he tapped home Matt Targett’s cross but the VAR officials thought otherwise judging the striker to be marginally offside and handing West Ham a third straight win that takes them above Manchester City, Manchester United, Wolves and Southampton in the table.